TOW: Measuring the Effectiveness of a Campaign
Like every aspect of public relations practice, measuring and evaluations need careful planning. In setting PR goals and objectives, it is usually important to recognize that measuring PR effectiveness can be quite difficult to do unless the individual elements or components of the program are clearly defined. Instead of trying to measure PR as a whole, steps should be taken to measure the effectiveness of a campaign. When measuring the standards of a campaign you should be focusing on media content analysis, cyberspace analysis, trade shows and event measurement, and public opinion polls. Figuring out the specifics and numbers for these things should give your team an idea of what direction your heading towards.
However, considering audience response to individual messages, a practitioner should also be concerned with the impact of the campaign as a whole. If a campaign is correctly researched and planned, its elements will produce an effect that is much greater than the entire response to the individual messages. If the mix is not right, however, the combined elements of the campaign, no matter how great individually, may fall far short of the goal. For this reason, it is important to measure the growing impact of a public relations campaign, keeping in mind the goals developed in the planning phase. This measurement can be made only after the campaign has been in progress long enough to achieve some results. Well grounded measurement programs should be focused on both short and long-term PR impacts. If one campaign goal is to maintain or increase good attitudes toward an organization, research methods such as image surveys can be used to measure success. In addition, a practitioner can measure certain actions by members of a public like complaints, questions about services, and requests for documents. Measuring the results and effectiveness of PR efforts are important to both PR specialists and their clients. The existence of evaluation and measurement enhances the quality of public relation services and the quality of management decisions. That is why it is necessary to include the time and expense for research on measuring effectiveness in PR campaigns.